This is Arun from South Africa!

I am Arun Naicker from South Africa and I live in Durban where the sun shines in winter. My work at the Umtapo for the past 25 years is invigorating and empowering. I am an activist so it goes without saying that where there is injustice my antennas start to beeb!!!

Believe me I wasn’t born this way. At an early age I began to notice differences amongst people especially since most of my childhood and adult life has been during the apartheid era.

I have found the Paulo Freire methodology very empowering and a process for the emancipation of the mind. I also keep in mind that no education is ever neutral.

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“We are the people we have been waiting for”

“Popular Education promotes constant analysis and critical reflection upon reality with the aim of enabling people to discover solutions to their own problems and set in motion concrete actions for the transformation of that reality”.

Empowerment for me is about people – both women and men – taking control over their lives setting their own agendas, gaining skills, building self-confidence, solving problems, and developing self-reliance. At the same time we must also include the voices of young people

Important to me is the whole notion of self-reliance the power to rely on one’s self, on one’s own resources and ideas, to become fully independent in every respect.

I love quiet time to just sit and be myself in nature with the balance of music, dance and the celebration of life.

“We are the people we have been waiting for”

This is Tikho from The Netherlands!

Hello I am Tikho. I was born in Indonesia and have a Chinese background. My mother lived in her youth in China and she and my father were caught up in several wars and upheavals in China and Dutch India/Indonesia. Discrimination was part of their live. Their live stories give me strength to keep confronting discrimination. When I was three years old my family ‘fled’ to the Netherlands. I feel myself as being Dutch and I live the last 30 years in Leiden, an University city south of Amsterdam. I can be very serious but I also like listening to dance music and in the past to dance on it. I like to travel and walk for hours through the main cities of the world.

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This is Aurelia from Spain!

My name is Aurelia and I am from Mexico but I have been living in Spain the last four years… Everything started when I came to Barcelona for a Masters’ degree about Contemporary Migration and Interculturality. I am a psychologist concerned in the social part of psychology.
I have been always interested in topics such as gender, body, power relations and naturalization of certain ways of being and behaving. It all began when I read Judith Butler (Bodies that mather, Gender trouble… etc…) and I started questioning certain behaviour that I thought were natural (but not) in private and social life.

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This is Helga from Austria!

Hi, my name is Helga and I live in Graz/Austria where I work for ZEBRA – Intercultural Centre of Counselling and Therapy. ZEBRA offers psycho-therapy for refugees and asylum seekers as well as psycho-social counselling and legal advice for migrants. I work in the “education department” where we offer trainings. Our main target group are “professionals” who work with migrants, e.g. staff of psycho-social organisations. But we sometimes also do workshops in school for example. Our approach is a “diversity approach”, we don’t only consider the “diversity dimension” ethnicity or migration background as a source of discrimination and disadvantage, but also gender, disability, sexual orientation, age, social background, etc. Continue reading

This is Iman from Spain!

My name is Iman, I am 29 years old and I am the Spanish coordinator for this project. I was born and raised in Tangier, North of Morocco and North of Africa. A tricky place, so close and so far from Europe…

Right now I work as intercultural trainer in Madrid at the Institute of Cultural Affairs of Spain combined with my translation work which I studied in Granada, South of Spain. I enjoy a lot my work! To the extend that sometimes I don’t even think about it as “job”! Working on Empowerment, integration, diversity, minorities is a huge opportunity to me to learn more and more about myself and about society. Continue reading

This is Mike Holdgate from the UK!

My family is from North Wales (Snowdonia) which is now a very beautiful National Park however my great grandfather lived and worked there as a slate miner when times were very different. My grandfather moved to Liverpool to find work ther. In those days the city  was a thriving port and it is here that my mother and father were born in the early 1920s. Liverpool declined as a city and so my parents moved down to London which is where I was born and grew up.I studied Biochemistry at Bath University before moving back to London working for Bass Charrington the brewers!! In 1986 I went off travelling around the world for a year on a bicycle and on returning to the UK signed up with VSO going to work in Zimbabwe as a volunteer science teacher in Magunje school, Uzumba, Marama, Pfungwe district. I lived in Zimbabwe from 1988 to 2002 working on a number of empowerment / citizen engagement programmes. It was such a privilege to be working in Zimbabwe during those times and I learnt so much from the people I met and worked with there . Continue reading

This is Rob from The Netherland!

My name is Rob Stoop. I’m 52 years old and live in the city of Leiden (the oldest still remaining university city in the

Netherlands. I work at RADAR as trainer. In my spare time I love to swim. At least twice a week I swim 2 kilometer at 7 o’clock in the morning before I go to work. Furthermore I go to the gym (but that has a less profound reason….. I’m just too heavy). One of my other passions is dancing to preferably Latin music. I love to salsa!! Continue reading